Given before the PDE, December 16, 2002
I want to thank the members of the Cyber Charter Review Committee for allowing us this opportunity to present to you our idea for a new Cyber Charter School – the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. I believe that this new school has a great opportunity for success because of the dedication and experience of my fellow Board members. My son is currently enrolled in a cyber charter school that is a good experience for him. I believe that PA Leadership has the potential to build on these positive experiences and offer our students even more exciting learning opportunities.
PA Leadership has many assets. One distinct asset of PALCS is flexibility. A question I have asked is, “Should every child be made to fit into a specific educational mold as dictated by his own school, or can he be allowed to learn just as much as his mind will bear at his own pace and in his own way?”
Our Cyber School allows us to explore endless possibilities for our students. Suddenly a school bell does not dictate the time a student spends on a subject in the course of a day. Maybe he needs more, maybe less time than is allotted for the average student of a large class.
For a child with attention deficit disorder, stretching his legs, taking a break, moving on to another activity transmutes into a productive process, not a disruptive one. The fast learner now has the opportunity to progress at his or her own personal pace, and to explore a subject in greater depth, eliminating boredom. If a course of study is completed before the end of the school year, another subject can be added for enrichment. In a conventional school this is rarely possible.
My son’s participation in a cyber school enables him to take community college courses in addition to his high school curriculum. Now he’s able to obtain dual credit towards his high school and college degree. By the time he completes high school, Dave will be close to achieving his Associates Degree. Colleges throughout PA are eagerly creating alliances with schools like PALCS. They are strong advocates of distance learning opportunities. Their goal is to provide flexible, educational opportunity – breaking the barriers between high school and college.
PALCS also offers physically and emotionally disabled students a new option for learning. Cyber schools can offer multiple curricula from which families can choose. With the guidance of a teacher-classroom-based program, parents and students individualize programs for optimal achievement. Different learning styles and problem areas are addressed with parent and child getting continuous feedback, well before the conventional mid-year conference of traditional schools. The teacher is always an e-mail away for help on a daily basis.
Cyber schools like PALCS can also serve families whose home is in Pennsylvania, but must travel throughout the year. Student-aged entertainers and athletes may occupy this category. We would like to explore opportunities for those that are serving time in juvenile detention or experiencing premature parenthood. For these students, a high school diploma rather than a GED might be obtained. Suddenly school is brought to the doorstep of all children, no matter what their situation.
Finally, families who are disenchanted with the resources of their local school district and are unable to afford private education have a choice.
Geography or rich vs. poor districts, no longer will determine possibilities for our children.
For these reasons, I am glad to serve as a Board Director for the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. I hope that you see the opportunities that I see. Should you need any more information please feel free to contact me personally.
PALCS OFFERS FLEXIBILITY !!
Thank-you again for this opportunity to present our vision to you.